As we head back to school, I wish you and your families a seamless transition back into the swing of the school year. This is a busy and exciting time. I am happy to help you find the right city resources, from after-school programs to universal pre-k to academic support. As ever, please contact my office by email or phone at 212-860-1950 for assistance.
Over summer vacation, we were hard at work. The fight against the marine transfer station continued, key transparency reforms became law, benefits to seniors and disabled residents expanded and my push for safer streets continued. As we move into the school year, I will be working on keeping our schools strong and continuing the fights we've already begun.
Here's to a great start.
1. One Month of Protest at Asphalt Green
2. Healthy Happy Meals
3. A Better Board of Elections
4. Summer of Science
5. Staying Fit
6. Technology and Transparency Law
7. Livable Streets
8. Night Out Against Crime
9. Food Drive
10. After-school Opportunities
11. Internship and Fellowship Program
12. Mobile District Hours
13. Against Violence Against Women
14. Around the Neighborhood
15. Legislative Update
16. Notice from New York Legal Assistance Group
17. City Council Events
18. Community Events
This month, I have joined the community and Pledge 2 Protect on numerous mornings to protest the Marine Transfer Station outside of Asphalt Green. At one such protest, The New York Post wrote an article about the brave residents who have been arrested for the cause. To sign my petition against the waste transfer station or sign up for more communication about the efforts to stop it, please visit BenKallos.com/MTS.
I recently introduced a bill requiring that kids’ meals that include toys as incentives would meet specific nutritional standards. According to The New York City Department of Health, half of elementary school children are overweight, while one fifth of kindergarten students and one fourth of head start students are obese. It's hard enough for parents to make healthy choices for their kids without the fast food industry spent $714 million in 2009 on advertising to children, with nearly half on toys, according to a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report. The money has a clear effect: the report confirms so-called “pester power”—the ability children have to direct family food choices. If we are incentivizing children, we should incentivize them to eat healthy.Healthy happy meals
Thanks to Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, there will now be a better process for selecting appointees to the New York City Board of Elections, an agency riddled in dysfunction. For a new BOE Commissioner spot, to be appointed by the Council, she is adding a public Rules Committee hearing to the process. This includes asking potential nominees to analyze the DOI report and public testimony, as well as publicly sharing candidate questionnaires.
This is a goal I advocated for strongly, and believe is extremely important in fixing the Board of Elections to improve our city's democracy. A Daily News editorial singled me out as wanting to run a "more open process." I am glad that this advocacy will lead to a better Board of Elections.
It is essential for students to retain learning over the summer while still having fun. That's why I chose to highlight excellent summer science programs in my latest Our Town column, "Summer of Science" after visiting excellent programs Breakthrough New York and Science Explorers at the 67th Street library. As the school year begins, I encourage you to continue pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) inside and outside of the classroom. Last year, I provided millions in STEM funding for schools because these subjects provide lasting, exciting opportunities. For more information on STEM programs, please email me or call my office at 212-860-1950.
Studies show that exercise greatly benefits your health--a lesson I had to learn firsthand, when I lost forty pounds through exercise. But, as we all know, having trouble finding time for fitness is common.
To promote fitness and create more opportunities for you and I to connect, I will be doing a "Walk With Ben" event on September 15 at 2PM outside of Stanley Isaacs Senior Center at 415 East 93rd Street (See "City Council Events" below). Soon, we'll start a "Run with Ben" event, so we can meet our fitness goals together. RSVP to "Walk With Ben" today.
Night Out Against Crime
It was great to join annual Night Out Against Crime events in the community for the 17th, 19th and the 23rd Precincts.
This year, I helped advocate for the $6.2 million secured by the City Council to free up 200 officers from desk responsibilities, so they can fight crime in the streets.
A Voter Guide bill, recently signed into law, uses technology to save the city money--$3 million this year alone--and empowers the Campaign Finance Board to carry out its important work. This common-sense fix allows the Campaign Finance Board to publish the voter-guide online instead of in print in certain years when only a referendum that may not make it onto the ballot is up for a vote.
This bill joins two others-- Open Law and City Record Online--that will make our city more transparent.
I've been fighting to open up laws and public information for a long time: In 2006, I founded WikiLaw.org later, merged with Jurispedia.org, in order to make the law more accessible. I also founded OpenLegislation.org to put New York State Assembly and New York State Senate attendance and voting records online for free for the first time. The passage of these bills represents a step forward for these efforts.
Let me know what street improvements you would like to see. Visit BenKallos.com/livable-streets to share your thoughts with me, so I can work with city agencies for better and safer streets.
As a reminder, please also visit BenKallos.com/BikeSafe to participate in the safe Commercial cycling program. The four steps to the program are as follows, and depend on your participation:
1. EDUCATIONAL FORUM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Distributed FREE Safety Vests, bells and lights for stores
2. MORE SAFETY VESTS
If you see or receive a bike delivery from a person with
NO safety vest displaying business name and ID number, report it to the business, 311 and Ben Kallos.
3. REPORT UNSAFE BIKING
If you see wrong way or unsafe biking, remember the business name and identification number from the safety vest then report it to the store, 311 and Ben Kallos.
Tell the store that you can wait longer for deliveries
so bikes can be slower and safer for everyone.
When you call 311, DOT and NYPD will be notified and will take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue.
Too many families are hungry in New York City, while food banks often experience their most difficult months in the summer. You can help by donating nonperishable items to the New York City Council's Food Bank. The nearest location is the Jan Hus Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program at 351 East 74th St.
I also joined New York Common Food Pantry to help distribute food to those in need. This is a gratifying experience that can make a real difference. To learn more and volunteer, visit their site.
This is part of my larger commitment to a healthier, more sustainable New York City.
If you would like to be featured in an upcoming neighborhood guide from our office, please let us know about your after-school program. If you know of (or run) an after-school program in the area, please email infobenkallos [dot] com (subject: After-school%20program) (infobenkallos [dot] com).
Our summer interns and fellows came from law school, social work programs, colleges and high schools across the city. They were a great class of interns who contributed to the East Side and our city while learning about government. Though we will miss them, we look forward to welcoming our new fall interns.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please email internshipbenkallos [dot] com (internshipbenkallos [dot] com) with a resume or cover letter. Visit BenKallos.com/fellowship to learn more.
Get assistance wherever you are located. Please see our mobile district hours:
Roosevelt Island Senior Center: First Wednesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.Lexington Houses: Second Wednesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.Lenox Hill Neighborhood House: Second Tuesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.
Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center: Fourth Tuesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.
Fighting Violence Against Women
It was great to be on the committee for comedy event "Dudes Against Violence Against Women" to benefit Breakthrough, a great organization aiming to eliminate violence against women.
This month, I joined plenty of community events and celebrations. Here are just a few: Reception with DNC delegates on bringing the Democratic National Convention to New York City; Threw out the first pitch at Harlem RBI Day; P.S. 77 Lower Lab School book fair; Roosevelt Island New York Junior Tennis League Awards Day; Roosevelt Island Summer Kids End of Summer Celebration; and Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez's Senior Summit.
If you would like me to join you at a community event, please email schedulerbenkallos [dot] com (schedulerbenkallos [dot] com) or call 212-860-1950. If my schedule permits, I will be happy to attend.
Learn more about the laws that affect the daily lives of New Yorkers, or visit BenKallos.com/legislation.
The following is a bill I sponsored:
Int. 443 - Crane modernization
According to a recent report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), construction is the City’s deadliest industry. This bill, that I co-sponsored with Council Member Debi Rose, ensures that aging and potentially dangerous cranes are no longer in use.
The following is a bill I co-sponsored, that has now become law:
Int. 449 - Ensuring experienced bus drivers
The employee protection provision is necessary to ensure bus drivers and mechanics have the experience and training required to bring our children to and from school each day.
You may be eligible for restitution funds from the Attorney General's Immigrant Restitution fund if you have received services from the International Immigrants Foundation, Inc. (IIF) or the International Professional Association, Inc. (IPA). If you believe you may be eligible, learn more and file a claim: http://nylag.org/ipa-immigrant-restitution-fund
9/5: First Friday
First Friday of Each Month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.
Please join me on August 1st for my next First Friday event. This is a chance for me to meet you in person to discuss what's important to you and how to make our neighborhood a better place to live. Please RSVP online or to rsvpbenkallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950. I look forward to seeing you there.
9/15: Walk With Ben
2PM, Stanley Isaacs Senior Center, 415 E 93rd St.
Join us for the first-ever Walk With Ben. Take a stroll with the Council Member for light exercise and an open conversation. RSVP today.
9/8 and 9/22: FREE Legal Housing Clinic
3-6PM, District Office at 244 East 93rd Street
PLEASE NOTE: Because of the holiday, the clinic was rescheduled from its usual time of first and third Monday. It will resume its usual schedule next month.
If you have any legal questions regarding housing, please come join us and reserve a time to speak with a volunteer attorney. This event was organized with assistance from Eviction Intervention Services (EIS). We are excited to announce this new service, and look forward to assisting you on legal housing matters.
You must make an appointment in advance. Email //RSVPbenkallos [dot] com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">RSVPBenKallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 to reserve a time slot. We look forward to helping you! Please email infobenkallos [dot] com (infobenkallos [dot] com) for any additional details. 9/9: Policy Night Second Tuesday of the month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.
If you are looking to become more involved in your community, please consider joining a District Five policy committee. Committees include education, environment, senior services and more.
9/3, 9/10, 9/17, 9/24: Tai Chi at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
4pm, FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Every Wednesday in September, learn Tai Chi at Four Freedoms Park! Classes will be taught by Grand Master Jean Phillippe Cisse and focus on learning basic techniques and increasing balance, circulation, flexibility, and energy. Ages 15 and up, learn more here.
9/6: Carnegie Hill Electronics Recycling Day
10:00am - 4:00pm, Outside Church of the Heavenly Rest, 2 East 90th Street (near Fifth Ave)
Drop off old and unwanted electronics at Carnegie Hill Neighbors’ 8th Annual Electronics Recycling Day. RSVP online here or email chncarnegiehillneighbors [dot] org (chncarnegiehillneighbors [dot] org).
9/9: Elder Abuse Prevention Presentation
9:30am, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 E. 93rd Street
The Isaacs Center is hosting a special presentation from The Carter Burden Center for the Aging’s Community Elder Mistreatment and Abuse Prevention Program (CEMAPP). They will discuss different forms of elder abuse, as well as warning signs and actions to stop it. Learn more here.
9/10: Cornell Tech Community Open House
10am - 4pm, Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street
To celebrate their new shared community space on Roosevelt Island in the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) Gallery, Cornell Tech will be hosting an open house throughout the day. Light refreshments will be served.
9/11: East 79th Street Neighborhood Association Monthly Meeting
6:00PM, Temple Shaaray Tefila, 250 East 79 Street
Special Guest Speaker NY State Senator Liz Krueger
9/11 - 9/14: Dances Patrelle presents Romeo and Juliet
7pm on 9/11, 9/12, & 9/13, 2pm on 9/14, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, E. 68th Street (between Park and Lexington Ave)
For their 25th Anniversary, Dances Patrelle will be performing Romeo and Juliet,featuring the choreography of Francis Patrelle and several performers who trained on the Upper East Side. Tickets are $35 - $50, with discounts available for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at Dances Patrelle, by phone at 212-772-4448, or at The Kaye Playhouse Box Office.
9/13: Volunteer Gardening at Carl Schurz Park
9:30am - 12:30pm, Carl Schurz Park, 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
Join the Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners, an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park. Children must be accompanied by adults, learn more here.
9/14: The Very Hungary Band
2:00pm - 3:00pm, St Catherine’s Park, 1st Avenue between 67th and 68th Street
Join Lou Gallo and Jean Rohe from The Very Hungary Band will be singing, dancing, and storytelling with children in the Ball Field Area at St. Catherine’s Park. Suggested for pre-school to 7 years old. Learn more here.
9/15: Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables Nutritional Program for Seniors
9:30am, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 E. 93rd Street
Join the Isaacs Center for their monthly nutritional program for seniors. In September, the topic will be “Easy Meal Planning for Seniors”. Attendees will receive a free gift. Learn more here.
9/17: Climate Conservations: Why the UN’s Climate Summit is Important to All of Us
7:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th Street (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
A panel discussion, in advance of the UN Climate Summit, featuring multiple perspectives on the threat of climate change and what we can do to lessen its effects.
9/27 - 9/28: Gracie Square Art Show
10:00am - 5:00pm, Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave. from 84th - 89th St. and within the Park at East 86th St.
In its 42nd year, the Gracie Square Art Show is one of the top open air art shows in the country. There will also be other activities, including tours of Gracie Mansion and children’s activities. For more information, visit Gracie Square Art Show.
9/27 & 9/28: MoMA in the Playground
11:00am - 1:00pm, Carl Schurz Park Plagyground, 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
During the Gracie Square Art Show, bring your kids and join MoMa educators who will be demonstrating how to make paper shaping sculptures. Event is free, learn more here.
9/27: GreenThumb Workshop: Canning & Preserving the Harvest
12:30pm- 2:00pm, Maggie's Magic Garden, 1574 Lexington Avenue (between 100th and 101st)
Join GreenThumb and Just Food for a workshop on how to preserve vegetables and create fruit jams. Visit the GreenThumb website for more details and RSVP here.
9/30: Stanley Isaacs Senior Center Field Day at Asphalt Green
9:30am, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 E. 93rd Street
Join Stanley Isaacs Senior Center for their annual tradition. There will be presentations and activities at the Isaacs Center in the morning, followed by lunch and field activities at Asphalt Green in the afternoon. Learn more here.